Researchers at the University of the West of England have snagged a grant to fund the building of a whole new type of robot
-- a non-silicon, biological plasmobot, built using plasmodium, a vegetative type of slime mold
. The mold, which is commonly found living in forests and gardens, is, according to researcher Andy Adamatzky, a "naturally occurring substance with its own built in intelligence," which is capable of carrying out complex tasks, like figuring out the shortest path between two points -- all on its own. The aim for the plasmobot will be for it to sense objects, span them in the shortest way possible, and carry tiny objects along pre-determined routes, controlled by light and electromagnetic fields. The plasmobot should also be capable of complex "number crunching power," enabled by parallel inputs and outputs. Long-term uses could include using the bots within the human body to deliver drugs to specific targets. Though much of this is still purely theoretical (and extremely complicated), we look forward to the day when we're all covered in mold, don't you?